'Friend Request' opens by showing us how popular a girl named Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is, via her Facebook posts. It seems arguable that she must be the most popular girl in school, with her good looks, sweet personality and sense of humor. She manages to maintain her sweetness by approaching a lonely-looking outcast named Marina (Liesl Ahlers), talking to her a little bit, and accepting her Facebook friend request. Laura and her friends go through Marina's Facebook page only to reveal what appears to be the profile of a very disturbed individual. In keeping with her "Ms. Perfect" reputation, Laura brushes it all off as art, and maintains that Marina's just a misunderstood girl. That is until Marina goes off the deep end, obsessing over Laura being such a wonderful and beautiful person. She gets too close for comfort, so Laura decides not to allow her to come to her birthday celebration. The obsessiveness continues afterward, and eventually Laura deletes Marina, resulting in a horrific suicide.
The aftermath is essentially a one-by-one mysterious murder spree. After each kill, footage of the event is posted to Laura's timeline; the real catch being that these people were all friends with her. It's all too easy to discover that these kills are happening from beyond the grave, as Marina's black-wasp-spewing evil demonic online presence is persistent through each of them. Her ultimate goal is to make Laura go from perfection to completely lonely - the exact same way Marina felt before someone was kind enough to talk to her.
I actually have an interesting confession to make in that this was pretty much the first social media themed horror flick I've seen. Not that there's a whole hell of a lot to go on, but with that comes the fact that I don't fully realize whether or not this is ripping something else off. In my eyes, the concept here is actually kinda interesting. It's just not enough to save what is otherwise a very typical horror film. Person gets shunned, becomes evil presence that kills everyone - it's a formula that goes back to, at the very least, the 'Friday the 13th' films. Trust me when I say not a single death here comes as much of a surprise. You see it all coming, and the jump scares are mostly generally cheap, just to throw a scary face at you.
The use of Facebook was fairly effective as something scary though, at least for me. The whole time, Marina is posting videos to Laura's Facebook, and she can't seem to do anything to take them down. Having my Facebook hacked WAS a very real situation for me at one point several years ago. It's a scary deal 'cause a lot of people will keep assuming it's you. Luckily, I had friends who stuck by me and knew better. But I still wonder to this day how many people this guy scared off, posing as me. The bottom line is, secure the shit out of your social media!
However, as I mentioned before, this wasn't the first horror movie to use social media for it's story. So, even without seeing the other films like it, I can point out that the idea isn't exactly original. Really, watching it through, it's a lot of tropes you're used to in present day horror. To top it off, there's a twist at the end some may find neat. But honestly, if you don't see it coming, you haven't been paying attention. In the end, it feels like the kind of movie that should have just come straight to video.